Now’s the time to make the most of the Autumnal glut of fruit and vegetables by making some chutney ready for Christmas. You could even bottle up a few as homemade Christmas presents.
This basic recipe is versatile and you can riff the ingredients using all manner of combinations of fruit and veg. Just make sure you stick to the fruit/veg to sugar and vinegar ratio.
To make 8 x 340g jars
800g squash (any variety), pumpkin or marrow peeled and diced
800g green or under ripe tomatoes, de-skinned and diced
400g bramley cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
400g onions, peeled and diced
400g light soft brown sugar or dark brown if you prefer darker chutney
500ml cider or white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
For your spice bag:
40g roughly-chopped and bruised fresh root ginger
A pinch of cloves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
A pinch of coriander seeds
A tsp or so of dried or fresh chilli if you so desire
1. Tie up the spices in a square of muslin cloth.
2. Place this into your thick-bottomed pan with all the other ingredients apart from the sugar and bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. This could take a while, as your pan will be full but don’t be tempted to speed up the process.
3. Let the mixture simmer uncovered for about two hours. Just stir occasionally to ensure it’s not catching or burning but you don’t have to stay nursing the pan.
4. Once a lot of the liquid has reduced and you will be left with chunky veg in a thick sauce. Stir in the sugar and allow to cook out for another hour making about three hours in total. At this stage you should have a shiny, thick, rich-looking chutney.
5. If you can pull the spoon through it to reveal the base of the pan for a few seconds then it’s thick enough and ready.
6. Pot the chutney into warm, sterilised jars and seal with vinegar proof lids.
7. Store in a cool, dark place and leave for a couple of months to mature before using.
8. It will be perfectly good for a couple of years!
Serve with cheese, pâtés or cold meats.